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Northerners wish the weather was an April Fool's Day joke

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Many in the northeast looked outside their windows Saturday morning to find that the weather was certainly no April Fool's Day joke.

Upwards of 30cm fell in some parts of our CTV Northern Ontario broadcast region – Greater Sudbury at one point saw peak snowfall rates of 8 centimetres an hour.

In just a few short hours, many northerners were forced to deal with what seems to have been one of the biggest storms of the season.

Heavy snow combined with high winds reduced visibility and created dangerous travel conditions.

In Sault Ste. Marie, the storm started early and gradually made its way across the Highway 17 corridor – closing parts of the Trans-Canada and Highway 11.

The winter weather was so blustery – the snow so heavy – transit for a time was kept off the roads in the Sault.

"All crews, all available plows, sanders and graders are out on the road,” said Susan Hamilton-Beach, Sault Ste. Marie’s director of Public Works.

“It's certainly been slow going with sidewalks for instance, it's just such a heavy, wet snow at this time of year."

Hamilton-Beach said the city focused on the main arteries and they are hoping to get into residential areas sometime overnight.

Officials in the Sault asked people to stay home – even the snow removal equipment had some trouble across the region – trying not to get stuck.

"We had the one blast over the Christmas season but this is certainly an extreme event,” said Hamilton-Beach.

“(I am) very glad that we declared a significant event to hopefully provide drivers an advance warning, to buckle down, stay home."

It was much of the same in Sudbury, which also declared a significant weather event.

"It's mostly due to the rapid fall of snow, there were heavy winds that was causing drifting on the roads,” said Brittany Hallam, Greater Sudbury’s director of Linear Services.

“As well as a lot of heavy snow because of the milder weather so it's a little harder for the plows to push."

CTV News invited viewers to send us images of what they saw outside and tell us their weather stories Saturday – from Sault Ste. Marie to Sudbury, Elliot Lake to Blind River – we received images of covered walks, buried vehicles – roads left impassable.

"You know we're out there, we're working but if you don't have to go out, maybe just stay home,” said Hallam.

“You might not see the roads in the condition that you would normally see them."

Municipal officials in the impacted areas said all of this snow is going to take a little while to clear. Once main arteries are cleared plows will be able to move in to address residential neighbourhoods.

The next concern will be ensuring catch basins are cleared as temperatures are expected to reach highs near 7 °C by midweek. 

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